Many surveys have been done seeking to understand why more than half of Americans don't have a Will. The most common responses are:
Many people put off drafting a Will because it is an uncomfortable process. No one wants to think about dying or what will happen to our loved ones when we are gone. Similarly, many people believe it takes a lot of time to prepare a Will.
In both cases, we encourage you to think about drafting a Will as an opportunity to relieve stress and discomfort from those that survive you. A properly constructed Last Will eliminates questions, prevents arguments, and saves time for your loved ones.
While it is true that your assets will pass to your spouse, children, or other relatives if you die without a Will, the division of your assets is determined by State law and not by you or your agent. This can result in certain descendants, relatives, friends, or organizations receiving nothing, even if you intended for them to receive a share of your estate. It is always better to have a properly written Will that establishes an Executor to manage your estate and outlines your wishes.
Yes, it costs money to have a Will properly drafted. However, it is not an expensive process and simple Wills can be written quite affordably. A properly written Will can also save your estate thousands of dollars by assigning an Executor to manage the estate, by avoiding legal disputes, and by clearly defining how your estate is to be distributed.
If you haven't already started on your Will, please call to schedule a FREE consultation so we can help you begin the process. In the meantime, you can start preparing for your Last Will by doing the following:
Think about or determine who will be your Executor. Every Will must name someone to serve as executor, which is the person who carries out the terms of the Will.
If you have minor children, identify a guardian for your children. This is the person or people you want to raise them in the event that you and their other parent can't. You should also select a person who can manage your children's money and property until they come of age.
Make a list of your assets such as real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, vehicles, etc.
Gather important documents like deeds, insurance policies, partnership agreements, and other legal documents.
Determine who inherits your property. Try to be fairly specific with this assignment and don't forget to choose alternate beneficiaries.
Determine who will be your decision makers to carry out your health & money choices for you if you're incapacitated. Learn more about these Advance Directives here.
If you are married, each spouse should complete these items.
Call (330) 475-1584 to schedule your consultation.
"Your Will doesn't have to be a morbid document. Think of it as a gift to your descendants. A way to outline your wishes that can help hold your family together after you pass."
In Ohio, if you die without a Will, your assets are distributed by "Intestate Succession." Ohio state laws have a clear and definitive succession that determines which of your surviving spouse(s), relatives, or other heirs receive a portion of your assets.
Any asset that would have passed through a Will is subject to Intestate Succession. Those assets would typically be items that you owned alone and were listed with you as the sole owner. Many valuable assets (like IRAs, life insurance proceeds, or jointly owned property) do not normally pass through a Will and are therefore not subject to Intestate Succession.
Digital assets are a relatively new concept and more than 60% of people don't know what will happen to their digital assets when they die. This is a new area of estate planning that is concerned with items such as online bank accounts, email accounts, digital music, eBooks, online payment accounts like PayPal, and other online subscriptions and assets.
Without a Will that outlines your online assets and how they are to be distributed, your survivors will likely be unaware that these assets even exist.